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Little Tibet | Majnu Ka Tila

Suchita posted on 16 January

By Abhishikta Mallick

Majnu ka Tilla is a beautiful Gurdwara situated on the banks of the river Yamuna. Legend has it that a Muslim hermit who ferried people across the river was blessed by Guru Nanak Dev for his selfless devotion, and this sanctuary immortalizes his memory. {Don’t give up on me yet, I’m not going to talk about the lovely langar served here; please read on, it’ll be worth your while, I promise.}

Today, Majnu ka Tilla {or MKT, as it is popularly known} has become synonymous with the Tibetan refugee colony in the same vicinity. Only a rickshaw ride away from Delhi University {North Campus}, the narrow lanes in this colony are full of students looking to satiate their craving for authentic Tibetan food; natives going about their daily routines; and tourists frantically clicking away to store memories of yet another unique pocket of the city.

Picture this: winding alleys, cool breeze blowing in your face, faint echoes of Dalai Lama’s preachings, graceful Tibetan ladies in their traditional attire selling momos in the courtyard, vibrant colours, unusual smells, the serene soft music made by the prayer bells. A smaller, condensed version of Dharamsala…while it may be a world not many will relate to, it does not fail to enchant!

Although the economy of Majnu ka Tilla revolves around restaurants, hotels and guest houses, there is a lot more on offer. The colony is laced with tiny kiosks selling Tibetan curios and silver trinkets, travel agencies offering Himalayan tours, hawkers offering dozens of Tibetan pop song and movie CDs, some shops with fake Chinese silk material and typical little pouches and bags, colourful “Free Tibet” t-shirts, shoe shops, salons, and street shops selling unusual food items such as dried fish and fermented bamboo shoot.

Do a quick recce of the colony before eating. Or eat first. Definitely, please, do NOT come back without sampling the cuisine that has given Delhi its favorite snack, the Momo!

How to get there | Take the Metro {yellow line} up to Vidhan Sabha, and hail a rickshaw from there {Rs.10 per head}

Where to eat | Tee Dee Restaurant. Enter the gate which reads “Samyeling Aruna Nagar RWA Colony” {a few yards ahead of the main Tibetan Refugee Colony gate} and take the first right turn. The restaurant is to the left. {1st floor}

LBBD recommends|

Shabalay | Its almost like a stuffed samosa, or a fried momo, only more succulent, and served with an intense fiery sauce that’s bound to get your taste buds tingling for more. We ordered the mutton shabalay, but vegetarian versions are available too, and equally delicious.

Thentuk | A less famous cousin of the Thukpa, this soup radiates warmth and healthiness with every mouthful. Chunks of meat and vegetables in a stock that is mild yet flavourful, with what seems to be the outer covering of momos floating around. A complete meal by itself, this dish is a delight.

Tingmo | Its a steamed fermented bread, unlike all other breads I’ve tried before. But it was love at the first bite! It has a unique taste of its own, and is best eaten with something spicy or dipped in soup. Stuffed tingmo buns are also available.

Shapta | If you are a beef eater, this is the dish which traditionally matches with Tingmo. It’s a spicy beef dish sautéed with ginger, garlic, bell peppers and onions. Muy picante, but muy muy muy delicioso!

Honey Chilli Chicken | This dish needs no description; its on our list only because its sinfully good. Also, it makes sense to order one familiar dish, just to be on the safe side. The honey chilli potatoes are just as good.

Apple beer | Non-alcoholic and different from the usual fruit beer, it was the perfect accompaniment to all the hot, spicy dishes we ordered…a cool end to a gastronomic adventure.

Meal for 4 | INR 600 {I swear!}

Now that the Mayans have given us a new lease on life, this New Year, let us resolve to step out of the spaces within which our lives have us confined, and discover new worlds. So go out, explore, meet new people, soak in interesting experiences and flavors of different cultures, and get rejuvenated!

{featured image: 'diya image' has been sourced from}